The Mobile Cafe

I love a coffee; the aroma, the taste, the buzz … but I used to love the coffee shop experience even more. It’s the soft comfy chairs, the funky tunes nestled in the background, the hum of conversation and the glass cabinets filled with wicked little treats. What can I say, I’m a sucker for sweets.

I used to hang out in this little French café in Holland Park while I was living in London and it not only sold amazing coffee and an array of fine French pastries, but it had this ambience that encouraged thought, great conversations and was a place I could indulge in reading and creative writing.

I remember feeling like Ernest Hemingway, watching the world go by as is sipped on my flat white (although I’m pretty sure he would have downed a short black along with a few cigarettes).

That was BC (Before Children). I’ve foolishly attempted to enter this arena since having my boys and each time I’ve shunted away from the coffee haven battle scared, head down, coffee undrunk and more than a little embarrassed.

Not because of my children, but more because I was stupid enough to think that I could indulge in a purely selfish treat WITH children who are flat out sitting still for one whole minute.

Look, I’ve seen it work for some parents but I’ve come to the realisation that never again will I be existing in that realm of cool, casual, coffee drinkers for at least the next 15 years.

Sobering stuff, enough to make me sit down with a cup of coffee while I write this from the confines of my bedroom (and yes the instant coffee just doesn’t cut it!).

What’s an Ernest Hemingway, sweet tooth, coffee lover to do? Well, it’s not glamorous and it’s by no means a solution, but I’ll call it a stop gap for now……..The Mobile Café and it exists out of my car. Yes people, it does involve a Drive-Thru process (usually of the ‘M’ variety) and it does include a lot of compromises, but bear with me.

For me at the moment, the car is neither a special place nor a quiet space, but it does offer a few benefits:

  1. is the fact that the kids are belted in (haha no cheeky escapes),
  2. it contains an outlet for music (due to settle any frayed nerves experienced while getting the kids into their seat belts) and
  3. I’ve discovered that the layout of a car’s interior really does cater for your coffee and treats to be secretly hidden away from greedy eyes in the back, and the seats are pretty comfy too.

So, I know it’s no coffee shop ‘experience’ and I’m certainly not engaging in any deep thought or creative writing processes here, but it’s a practical option and a winning retreat for me.

The fact that my 2 year old son now asks for ‘coffee’ is a little disconcerting and my husband is beginning Mobile Cafeto ask questions about our spiralling fuel bill, but I figure I’ll bring him round….. ‘Can I shout you a coffee, honey? Jump in’.

A Natural High

There are times when I love silence, pure silence. It’s a rare commodity these days in our lives (we’ll mine sunrise womanat least) and so sometimes I seek it, indulge in it, and even revere it. But then there are those moments when I’m happiest, surrounded by music.

I love music. There is no better outlet for your creative, daring and wilful soul, than grooving around to a funky tune (especially a newly discovered one), at close to maximum volume.

You know that scene from ‘Jerry Maguire’ where Tom Cruises’ character is having a moment of release in the car, singing (rather badly) at the top of his voice to Tom Petty’s ‘Free Falling’. Yeah, we’ve all been there, and how good does it feel? My only gripe is that there’s never enough leg room in our car to bang that beat out hard enough and I’m just not so keen on whacking it out on the steering wheel. But damn it feels good to let yourself enjoy the music.

I’m pretty sure its primal, cause from my observations of others over the years, be it at a nightclub, a dance class or a concert, rhythm or musicality ain’t strictly necessary, certainly not to enjoy yourself.

Ok, sometimes alcohol may have been a party to ‘the party’, but smashing out a few bars of a song at the top of your voice or busting some snazzy moves on the floor amongst friends and even strangers, is surely the result of powerful forces at play. There is no shortage of studies which tell us the positive benefits of music for our brain and in turn, our mood. But we don’t need to read those studies to know that really.

At the moment, ‘The Wiggles’ get quite a bit of air time in our car and in the house and while there’s no denying it’s a little irritating at times, the boys love having a groove and if I’m honest, I’ve been known to ‘Do the Propeller’ with genuine enthusiasm too.

My eldest was in the car on the way to school the other day, when a latest pop song came on the radio and before I even had a chance to launch myself into the tune, he beat me to it, word for word, head bobbing, eyes closed and all!

I finally got myself along to an adult dance class this week (no, not that kind of dancing). First one for 15 years, so you can imagine the fallout. I used to take Jazz and Ballet classes as a youngster, for fun. The nightclub/ party scene in my 20’s was my outlet for dance, but now in my late 30’s, options and outlets to get my groove on, were thin on the ground.

Hence my need to join an adult Street Dance class. It was awesome! I am seriously unfit, a bit too jiggly in placed to pull some moves and not as fast as I used to be, but the music took me over and kept me in the moment. It was sheer joy and a welcome release to find my body moving in ways I knew it could and wanted, to the music. To hell with what I looked like!

But bloody hell am I paying for it now! It hurts to sit down on the toilet seat, it hurts to get up off the damn toilet seat. I could barely hang the washing out today. I’m embarrassed to admit that reaching for the line above me produced some audible ‘ahhs’ (I’m pretty sure I heard the neighbour close his adjacent window at this point), but small price to pay.music

It’s that point of wilful release, where we allow ourselves to let go to the music, that you can feel truly free and happy. For me there is no better natural high… that you can do on your own!

So go on, crank up your latest or greatest fav tune, whether it be on your phone, CD player, portable speaker, car radio, I-Pod (do people still own these….. no seriously?) and allow yourself a moment to just let it all go.

The Need to find Purpose, FAST!

It’s been one of those weeks where thinking one thing and doing another were at complete opposite ends.

My loveable but untamable two year old twin boys, have done everything in their power to steer me off course from finding my life’s PURPOSE this New Year. The frequency of their tantrums and impeccable ability to know just how to annoy the heck out of one another, has left me frazzled and limp.

My attempt to be organised and on-time for school drop off and pick-ups, now that my eldest has started Prep, is a feat I truly underestimated. Work for the year has resumed and I feel slightly guilty about that. More so because I have begun to eagerly anticipate my two working day week, after a weekend filled with screaming children, disgruntled husband (because of the screaming children) and housework that never seems to make any dent in the overall running of our household.

The compulsion, no… desire, to start this year with a more definitive outlook and certain quest, has inadvertently left me feeling more drained and somewhat anxious about what I want out of life. Sounds profound I know but trust me, this first week of February has been anything but profound.

We all have those mundane, menial aspects of our lives that can quietly consume us, but I wanted to think differently this year, BE different this year and figure out if I could be more than the sum of these ordinary parts.

So where to from here? Don’t get me wrong, I want to clarify that life is pretty darn sweet for me, I mean, we are all healthy, live in a democratic war-free society, have no issues managing our finances and I even indulge in the odd bowl of ice-cream in the evening, but it is when I remind myself that I have all these things and more, that I honestly feel I should, even owe it to others, to DO or BE more! But WHAT? is the question that has been following me around these past few weeks of the new year.

As a woman, it’s no revelatory idea that we inevitably skirt (no pun intended) around this question, what do I WANT to do? We are so focused on ensuring everyone else is being cared for, that we forget to or just down right don’t have time to care for ourselves. It’s innate within us.

I liken this to the vital instructions presented in a preflight presentation ‘in the event of an emergency, ensure you have the breathing apparatus fitted to yourself first, then you can help those around you’. Surely finding one’s life purpose is an emergency and this anology has found a place in my heart of late. It’s becoming more and more apparent that if I don’t find and do what makes me happy (outside of my family), then I’m really not at my best to be with my family.

I remember the joy and vitality I regained for an evening, after taking my first Yoga class, post birth of the twins. It was the first time I had done anything purely for me in over 15 months. That alone made it special, but it reminded me how important it is to truly look after ourselves.

I don’t necessarily mean health wise, although Yoga was a deliberate choice in that regard, I mean anything and everything that brings some happiness, pleasure and purpose to your ‘self’ alone.

I know I was a better person, wife and mother for taking that Yoga class that afternoon. My husband told me so and my kids did too, in their reactions to my demeanour. I was happy, they were happy. There is no greater need to BE or DO more than that.